A University of Miami professor has tried to debunk reports of the chupacabra, a bloodsucking beast whose existence is widely disputed.
UM professor of pathology Alan Herron performed a necropsy on a goat whose death was blamed on the chupacabra and concluded that a dog _ not the mythical beast _ harmed it.
"A wild pack of dogs did it," Herron said.
Described variously as having reptilian skin, glowing red eyes or looking like some kind of space alien, chupacabra sightings have taken off. Some scared homeowners have reported seeing a creature jumping like a kangaroo as it left behind carcasses.
The reports started in Puerto Rico and have spread to Latin America, Miami and Tampa. The chupacabra is the hot paranormal topic of the moment, fed by Spanish-language talk shows on radio and television and via the Internet. The chupacabra even has a home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.princeton.edu/H accion/chupa.html
After the latest animal death in Dade County, Metro-Dade police decided to enlist the help of local zoological and medical experts such as Herron.
"There is nothing to be afraid of out there," said Ron Magill, a Metrozoo spokesman. "It ends here."
The 16th annual Sarasota Jazz Festival begins at 7:45 tonight. An item in Tuesday's Flash column was incorrect.